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Saag Paneer Bhaji Bun

by Big Zuu from Big Zuu’s Big Eats

Big Zuu reimagines saag paneer, one of his favourite Indian dishes, as a towering burger, complete with homemade coriander chutney, a crispy onion bhaji, golden fried cheese, and a brioche bun.

Introduction

Imagine a curry in a burger. Yeah, sounds messy, but hear me out. We put all the elements into beautiful compartments and presented it in a brioche bun. One of my favourite Indian dishes, that has been westernised, but the respect is still there.

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Ingredients

2 brioche buns, halved
2 slices paneer or halloumi
For the coriander chutney:
60g coriander
20g sprigs of mint, leaves only
½ tsp ground cumin
2.5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
juice of 1 lime
1 tsp caster sugar
30ml vegetable oil
For the bhajis:
1.5l vegetable oil, for deepfrying (if using a saucepan; if using a deep-fat fryer follow manufacturer’s instructions for oil), plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil for frying the cheese
45g gram flour
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp hot chilli powder
¼ tsp salt
1 onion, finely sliced
For the saag:
50g ghee
2 garlic cloves, grated
2.5cm piece fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
1 green chilli, sliced
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp nigella seeds
200g baby spinach

Method

Start by making the chutney. Place all the ingredients in a blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside. (This will make more chutney than you need, but it is great on grilled meat, fish or in cheese toasties.)

Preheat the oven to 180˚C/160˚C fan/Gas 4. Preheat the oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180˚C or heat the oil in a deep saucepan over a medium-high heat to 180˚C.

In a large bowl, whisk together the gram flour, spices and salt, then slowly whisk 60ml water until the mixture is similar in thickness to double cream. Mix in the onion and leave to sit for 5 minutes. This will make 4–6 bhajis.

When ready to fry, use 2 spoons to transfer bundles of the mixture to the hot oil carefully. After 1 minute, turn the bhajis in the oil and keep turning until they are evenly golden brown, then transfer to a baking sheet lined with kitchen paper. Keep warm in the oven while you toast the buns, fry the cheese and make the buttery saag.

Preheat the grill to hot and toast the brioche bun halves.

Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and gently fry the paneer or halloumi slices until golden brown and tender on both sides.

In another pan, heat the ghee over a medium heat until sizzling, then add the garlic, ginger, chilli and spices and fry for 2 minutes before adding the spinach. Wilt for 2–3 minutes in the spicy butter, then get ready to assemble.

First spread some chutney on the bottom half of a toasted bun, then top with a slice of cheese. Spoon on half the spinach, then top with 1 or 2 bhajis if you back yourself. Drizzle with more chutney and sandwich with the top half of the bun. Repeat to make the second bun. Serve with a cold beer.

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